I did something last weekend that could either be the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done, or the dumbest parenting move I’ve ever made – I’m not sure which one yet.
Some background information:
- Our kids have 50,000 stuffed animals. (Or at least it feels like that many.)
- They don’t play with any of them. EVER.
- They passionately love each of those completely unused stuffed animals, and have been unwilling to part with any of them.
- I am tired of those 50,000 stuffed animals cluttering up the house. They just lie around and get in the way.
On Saturday, I read yet another amazing blog post about getting rid of toys, and how much happier children are when they are not overwhelmed by so many choices. The part that got me was this:
“Speaking of clean up…it’s so easy. If I do it myself after bedtime it takes me 1 minute and 20 seconds (yes, I timed it) to put everything back in perfect working order.”
Because it was Saturday, and the house was a mess, and the girls were complaining about doing chores, something in me just snapped. This was how my thought-process went:
I WOULD LOVE TO GET RID OF ALL THEIR TOYS!!!!
Wow, life would be so much easier!
They would never agree to it.
But we wouldn’t have to get rid of all the toys – even if we just got rid of all the stuffed animals and dolls that they never play with.
They would NEVER agree to it in a million years.
But maybe….Maybe I could convince them that quality is better than quantity….
Maybe, if I got them the toy they want most in the whole world, they would be willing to trade all the toys they never actually use….
So I told Ben my idea, and he was sick enough of too many toys to agree to go through with it.
We called the girls up from their playroom downstairs, where they had been working on tidying all their toys. We presented this crazy idea to Anika and Kaylia, and they went for it!
Both of them have wanted an American Girl doll for a few years, and we always said we would never buy them a doll that costs so much money. They didn’t need more toys, and I didn’t want to get sucked into a world where dolls need canopy beds, ice cream shops, and a calf. And who buys toys for their toys???
But the two newest members of the family are now on their way, the girls are checking the mail twice every day, and we are sending a load of stuffed animals to the thrift shop.
We allowed each girl to choose her three favorite stuffed animals to keep – this took Kaylia three seconds, and Anika, three days. If only I was exaggerating….
Quality over quantity. The play room is emptier, as is our bank account, but the good news is that these dolls should last forever – there’s an American Girl Doll Hospital, offering valuable services such as head and limb reattachment, hearing aids, and eye replacement.
Only time will tell if this crazy purging experiment will work….
How do you teach your kids about quality over quantity?